THE high rate at which road traffic accidents are happening on Zambia’s highways and other road links calls for a pragmatic and integrated approach to reduce the carnage, which has not spared the productive age group.
On Saturday, four people including a baby died in a road traffic accident in Serenje District while four others were rushed to the district hospital where they were admitted.
We commiserate with the families of the four people who perished in that tragic road crash on the Great North Road in a vehicle which was left mangled.
Zambia has witnessed horrific accidents particularly on the Great North Road around the now dreaded Chibombo area.
Memories are still fresh of the 50 people who died in the tragic accident in Chibombo in February last year after the Post bus collided with a truck in one of the worst accidents in Zambia’s history.
Two months later, 16 people died along the same stretch in Chibombo District when a Toyota Hiace mini-bus collided with a truck.
In December last year, 14 people died while 54 others sustained serious injuries after the Scania Marcopolo bus belonging to Ronsil Transport plunged into a ditch at Luangwa Bridge on the Great East Road.
Two weeks ago, five people died in Chibombo on the same spot, exactly a year after that tragic carnage which claimed 50 lives.
On Friday last week, 12 passengers died in Mazabuka when a Marcoplo bus collided with a South African truck.
Therefore, an integrated approach should be employed in a more pragmatic manner to save lives of innocent people including those in the prime age.
The Road Transport and safety Agency (RTSA), The Road Development Agency (RDA), Zambia Police Service, the Ministry of Health as well as organisations in the private sector should step up efforts in tackling this national challenge.
We have noted that RTSA has initiated an aggressive education campaign through various media outlets on road safety rules for pedestrians, motorists and other road users.
It is pleasing that RTSA director Zindaba Soko is involved in this campaign and recently led his team on a tour of the main highways including the Great North Road.
The RDA should particularly work on some portions of roads that have developed potholes and depressions on stretches such as Manyumbi area between Kapiri Mposhi and Kabwe on the Great North Road as well as Kafulafuta area near Ndola.
In fact, the depressions have developed because motorists have to slow down or stop because police have mounted check-points despite the stretches being curves.
We are aware though that the Government has embarked on a massive infrastructure development programme in which the road network is being upgrade.
The programmes include the Link Zambia 8000, Pave Zambia 2000 and the Lusaka 400 in which huge sums of money is being spent.
As the road network is being upgraded, RTSA, Zambia Police Service and other Government agencies should continue with the education campaign and other interventions in public places and institutions such as schools.
Public service drivers should be monitored and retrained because most road accidents in the recent past involved buses.
Road carnage should be fought from all fronts.